AMD: Llano is better at multi-tasking than Sandy Bridge

By on March 2, 2011, 6:05 AM
AMD is gaining a few backers just above the netbook segment with the E and C-series APUs, bringing solid performance and graphics to small laptops without having to sacrifice too much battery life. Soon, these chips will be joined by the A-series, codenamed "Llano", which is aimed squarely at mainstream notebook and desktop PCs. Naturally there's plenty of anticipation to see how they fare against Intel's Sandy Bridge competition and today AMD is offering a little glimpse.

In a recent post at the company's Fusion Blog, director of the client technology unit Godfrey Cheng starts off by explaining that they have given much more importance to parallel processing in their Fusion APUs rather than focusing on classic x86 performance like their blue competitor. Cheng notes that AMD's processors aren't exactly x86 slouches, but the difference in performance among different brands of chips in classic x86 workloads is virtually indistinguishable for an average user. Instead he argues that AMD sees more value in GPU performance and the ability to multitask.

"We are no longer chasing the Phantom x86 Bottleneck," says Cheng. "AMD continues to invest in x86 performance. With our Bulldozer core and in future Bulldozer-based products, we are designing for faster and more efficient x86 performance; however, AMD is seeking to deliver a balance of graphics, video, compute and x86 capabilities and we are confident our APUs provide the best recipe for the great majority of consumers."

To back his words the video above compares a shipping Intel Core i7-2630QM Sandy Bridge mobile processor against a quad-core "A8-3510MX". AMD hasn't provided any specific details regarding the chip, but the video mentions it is built on top of the company's Llano architecture and packs an on-die Radeon HD 6620M graphics core.

Both chips are put through a series of tests on similar systems to showcase their multi-tasking ability and performance as well as their power consumption. As you can see, the A-series Fusion APU fares quite well. Of course we'll reserve judgment until we can run one through our usual set of tests, and see if the difference in raw x86 performance for more traditional tasks is as negligible as AMD claims, but so far it looks to be a very promising product.





User Comments: 27

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princeton princeton said:

Now was hyperthreading and turbo boost disabled on the intel chip? I have a feeling that it might have been.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Well if that demo comes to light performance wise that would be interestng, although I'm not really interested until I see the gaming benches with a discreet graphics card i'm sure Intel Sandy will still beat the AMD offerings.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

The whole idea here Burty... is for laptops and small devices, thats why they test a mobile procesors, not thinking in having enough space for any type of video card, like a good example nettops, netbooks (Well maybe not because I havent seen any with an i7 that could be tagged as netbook), ultra thin and light notebooks, etc.

So no discrete graphic card here, its raw power against raw power it is pretty much it.

Johny47 said:

Looks great, if the performance is similar with a real video card then cool and I'm sure as always the AMD will be cheaper to buy aswell.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Princeton said:

Now was hyperthreading and turbo boost disabled on the intel chip? I have a feeling that it might have been.

That question has been posed in a few conversations about this comparative video elsewhere, and the answer has been variations of this: "since the power draw on the i7 hits 70W+ during the test, turbo boost must be enabled."

Those stating that usually profess to know something about Intel products, but I don't know how valid that argument really is. I figure one of our resident experts here would have a better grasp on the validity.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

kibaruk said:

The whole idea here Burty... is for laptops and small devices, thats why they test a mobile procesors, not thinking in having enough space for any type of video card, like a good example nettops, netbooks (Well maybe not because I havent seen any with an i7 that could be tagged as netbook), ultra thin and light notebooks, etc.

So no discrete graphic card here, its raw power against raw power it is pretty much it.

Haha! good point, then i'm even less interested

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Incidentally, that opening app was the FFXIV benchmark, which is not computer friendly (or optimized, though the "final product" was not much better). Assuming I were NOT to be multitasking, performance might actually be playable with either chip, If that video has any merit. hmmm...

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

burty117 said:

Well if that demo comes to light performance wise that would be interestng, although I'm not really interested until I see the gaming benches with a discreet graphics card i'm sure Intel Sandy will still beat the AMD offerings.

I think they like to do the oranges-to-oranges comparison, to show how much better AMD is handling power and media-rich applications. Intel's integrated graphics have always been an Achilles heel for them, and it looks like Sandy Bridge (while better) is no exception.

The mobile and general consumer crowds are where AMD wants Llano systems to take over. To not NEED a discrete graphics card and still be able to meet normal basic computing and media needs easily, that is a holy grail for the Fusion line. System simplification and cost savings means bigger profits and fewer headaches for the PC manufacturers, so AMD may do well in that arena (HTPC, thin clients, basic household computers, mainstream notebooks, etc).

Now, gaming rigs and heavy workstations, which incorporate discrete GPUs, those are another story - I think Intel will maintain dominance for the foreseeable future. Unless Bulldozer manages to surprise us with stellar performance, that is.

Lokalaskurar Lokalaskurar said:

Speaking in a not-so-proudly manner; I've been using Intel-based laptops for as long as I can remember, and I can easily recall my "heavy-working" being very annoying. Intel has been antagonizing me for years with their linear computing... while AMD instead shows a phenomenal computing power, thus I'm definitely going over from Intel to AMD, provided the increase in multitasking is as great as promised.

intelinside said:

bs... they are comparing their Llion A8-3510MX with i7-2630QM; why not 2830QM with turbo mode?

Lurker101 said:

Am I the only one thinking, screw x86 performance and development and just move on to x64 already?

Chazz said:

Generally when people refer to x86 it's also including the x86-64 instruction set.

herpaderp said:

I don't usually care to comment on this topic (AMD v. Intel performance), but I hope there continues to be more good news from AMD. It seems it's about time they start getting competitive with Intel in something other than price points. They've been behind since the launch of the Core2Duos, and hopefully, by providing Intel with some serious competition, we'll see much lower prices on both sides.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Vrmithrax said:

The mobile and general consumer crowds are where AMD wants Llano systems to take over. To not NEED a discrete graphics card and still be able to meet normal basic computing and media needs easily, that is a holy grail for the Fusion line.

I agree and from the looks of it AMD with Llano excels beautifully in this area. I hope when we finally see Llano in the wild we will get similar performance, as I really need to get a new laptop and would love this competitive option later this year.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Looks promising, but bear in mind this is a AMD advertisement- and like most (if not all) ads tends to play fast and loose with the facts.

I'd have to ask how good is Llano's computation ability if they have to go to such extremes to highlight a difference between the two systems. Does anyone here actually think that playing a game whilst simultaneously running an instance of Excel and 3D rendering is anything a user is likely to run ? Classis corner-case highlighting.

Public demo's and company produced benchmarks seldom tell the whole story (Zacate better than Core i5 anyone?!! or the AMD seeded "HD6970 guaranteed to beat GTX580" stories and "benchmarks" -since expunged from the sites)

Sandy Bridge would seem to be (re)shipping in earnest- AMD needs to stall SB adoption until Llano and BD are available to OEM's and retail, since many people won't buy SB now and then buy the AMD product in a few months time. If you don't have product then you spin - no different to Nvidia's PR machine during Fermi's protracted delay, or Intel's full-court press regarding Larrabee

Kenrick said:

I agree with dividebyzero.

This is just marketing strategy everyone is using. Let us wait for 3rd party reviews from toms, anand etc.

Sandy bridge has been phenomenal and was concluded very efficient and has the speed. If I were AMD, I'll just shut my mouth and surprise everyone during the launch..... if really they have something to show. That is another problem.

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

kenrick said:

I agree with dividebyzero.

This is just marketing strategy everyone is using. Let us wait for 3rd party reviews from toms, anand etc.

Sandy bridge has been phenomenal and was concluded very efficient and has the speed. If I were AMD, I'll just shut my mouth and surprise everyone during the launch..... if really they have something to show. That is another problem.

I "3rd" this.

AMD, stop talking and start releasing.

Although their lower end E-350s were pretty good. But now intel is releasing a new Atom meant to rival it already.

It seems like Intel couldn't really give a damn what AMD does and they just keep pumping put impressive product after impressive product.

Come on AMD, hurry up and release Bulldozer.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

They are talking about a mobile chip powerful enough to compete with the i7 (Mobile doh!) and you still complain... geez...

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Why wait for a 3rd party review? Do you think a company plays that much with their scores? Why? So they can be tagged as "Dishonest" I'm pretty sure it doesnt.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Why wait for a 3rd party review?

HELL NO! One advertisement, I'm sold ! Pre-order NOW! Operators are standing by to take your order.

Do you think a company plays that much with their scores? Why? So they can be tagged as "Dishonest" I'm pretty sure it doesnt.

Was the demo from a retail/OEM part, or an engineering sample ?

All AMD achieved was to show that Llano's graphics have a significant lead over Intels -does this come as a surprise to anyone ?

Why would AMD care about being dishonest?- everyone lies in marketing, whether it be fudging on graphs ( note [link] ), to outright bs ( the aforementioned HD 6970 "performance" figures -so on the money that every site that seems to have been suckered into running them- Kitguru, B3D, R3D - eradicated them as soon as the real benchmarks hit the streets) in order to stall a competitors card sales until they could enter the market.

If that's not enough "proof" then I'm sure your aware of the furore over AMD's Catalyst optimizations in 10.10 and their quick about face once everyone and their dog got hold of it.

[ [link] ]

Newsflash...ALL companies will leverage whatever advantage they have in the marketplace to best suit their product or service, and where the advantage is lacking, they certainly aren't above using spurious information to forestall their competition. This is generally well known to all but the most gullible infomercial addicts and the naive.

wiak said:

its said that the LIano's are gonna have a Discrete AMD Radeon HD 5670 DX11 based graphics with AMD Phenom II x86 cores

given the fact that sandy bridge igp is around the performance level of a AMD Radeon HD 5450

so is that hard to understand that amd will make roadkill out of intel in graphics?

read up on AMD, ATI and Radeon, you might notice they have been king of the hill in graphics many times

one word, dont underestimate the power of graphics

wiak said:

sarcasm said:

kenrick said:

I agree with dividebyzero.

This is just marketing strategy everyone is using. Let us wait for 3rd party reviews from toms, anand etc.

Sandy bridge has been phenomenal and was concluded very efficient and has the speed. If I were AMD, I'll just shut my mouth and surprise everyone during the launch..... if really they have something to show. That is another problem.

I "3rd" this.

AMD, stop talking and start releasing.

Although their lower end E-350s were pretty good. But now intel is releasing a new Atom meant to rival it already.

It seems like Intel couldn't really give a damn what AMD does and they just keep pumping put impressive product after impressive product.

Come on AMD, hurry up and release Bulldozer.

the so called new atom is not that new, brazos still has the best platform and graphics/video support

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

the so called new atom is not that new, brazos still has the best platform and graphics/video support

Brazos can be absolutely fantastic - and it don't mean squat if you can't buy one.

Zacate "launched" two months ago. Here's Neweggs listings...2 mITX and 2 notebooks -impressive stuff.

If your intent on showing the flag for AMD best you don't bring up a product that's effectively a paper launch.

Guest said:

That AMD processor is running at 1.8 Ghz - so it really is Apples to Apples. Note that the Intel CPU is running at 2.0Ghz!

They both would hyperthreading - AMD's would be a little bit more efficient.

Guest said:

Ok, who said AMD was saying their Zacate was better than the i5. You didn't understand the point of the presentation? Most people use i5's in laptops since its just a hyper threaded i3. The point of the video showing both systems i5 with its integrated gfx verse the zacate system with its APU. It showed that the CPU is no longer as important, especially in our age of multimedia. My AMD System made an intel system look bad when it played an HD video cause I had a more powerful graphics processor. My overall point is. the video wasn't comparing the actual i5 to the zacate parallel processing system, but saying how the i5 in a large notebook isn't necessary for the everyday tasks we do on our laptops, and we can get the power we need in a far smaller space (netbook rather than 15.6/17 inch laptops the i5's are in).

I'm waiting for Llano, and I'm going to save up for a laptop, mainly because I have the only system, and I need a new one, (college is all on laptop, and I need to do HW, not use netflix so my family can watch movies... GOD HELP ME.)

Tom Nesheiwat - AMD FanBoy

red1776 red1776, Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe, said:

(college is all on laptop, and I need to do HW, not use netflix so my family can watch movies... GOD HELP ME.)

Tom Nesheiwat - AMD FanBoy

Now here's Bob with sports!

Guest said:

Then it will be like comparing Hyundai Sonata with BMW 5 Series and that will be ridiculous......................

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